Weekend Preview: Thunderbirds Set To Finish Season Series Against Mentor

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds return home this weekend to take on the Mentor Ice Breakers at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. Mentor finds themselves in the basement of the Federal Hockey League standings, fighting for a playoff spot with Danville and current 4th place Port Huron. Unlike the Ice Breakers, the Thunderbirds have clinched a playoff spot and the regular season championship following last Friday’s game against the Enforcers.

Last weekend, the Thunderbirds came away with six points in their two games against the Enforcers. The third game that was supposed to played on March 10 was suspended by the league, with the game's fate currently being deliberated on. 

The Thunderbirds now have 124 points going into this weekend off of the weekend "sweep" of Elmira. The Ice Breakers on the other hand are riding high coming off an incredible comeback against the Dashers, which saw two goals from Mentor in the final minute of play and an overtime goal to complete the comeback for an 8-7 win.

The Ice Breakers and Thunderbirds have met for a total of eleven times this season, with Carolina leading the series 9-2 over Mentor. Carolina will look to Jan Salak (18 points) and Chase Fallis (14 points; suspended for Friday's game) to help lift the Thunderbirds past the Ice Breakers. Both men are the leading scorers against Mentor this season for Carolina. Gordy Bonnel (7 points) and Mark Essery (6 points) are the leading scorers for the Ice Breakers against Carolina. 

This series has been one-sided for the most part, with Carolina winning by large numbers several times. As a fun fact, both Thunderbirds goaltenders Frankie McClendon and Christian Pavlas have assists during this series.

The Ice Breakers are heading into this weekend shorthanded on the bench with head coach Iain Duncan serving a two game suspension this weekend. Sebastian Ragno is serving as the Ice Breakers interim head coach for this weekend’s series.

Friday’s game is at 7:35 PM, with a 7:10 PM pregame show, while Saturday’s game is at 6:05PM with a 5:40 pregame show. Saturday’s game is our St. Patrick’s game, featuring specialty jerseys brought to you by our friends at Cricket Wireless. The “Voice of the Thunderbirds” Zak DeBeaussaert is going to bring all the action this weekend on WTOB. For tickets, you can visit online at Ticketmaster or call the Fairgrounds Box Office.